Goals from Hassan Abdalla and Erick Kapaito in either half helped Kenya’s Harambee Stars register their 24th victory over Taifa Stars of Tanzania in a friendly match staged on Monday in Nairobi.
Abdalla who plays for Bandari FC in the FKF Premier League came off the bench to hand Harambee Stars a second straight victory as Kenya prepares to meet Egypt and Togo in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches next week. On Saturday, Stars squeezed a slim 1-0 win over South Sudan in the first of the three build-up matches ahead of the do-or-die encounters.
The victories would be a confidence boost for coach Jacob Mulee who is yet to win a competitive match since he took over from Francis Kimanzi. In his first two matches, Mulee was subjected to two subsequent draws by minnows Comoros, both home and away. But even this win might not give the coach a true picture of what his players are capable considering that Tanzania were missing about 10 players from Simba.
Simba has a crucial CAF Champions League match against El Merreikh on Tuesday.
Taifa Stars created chances in the second half but will have to rue poor defensive performance in the first half for the defeat.
Stars need to beat Egypt at home and Togo away to secure a second consecutive Afcon berth. Their last trip to the continental showpiece was a disaster of sorts after they failed to go past the group stages in Cairo.
Kapaito, 2017 Kenyan Premier League Golden Boot winner and current league top scorer netted his debut goal for the senior national team in the match. This could be a clear testament that the Kariobangi Sharks forward has fully shaken off a nagging injury that kept him out of action in the last two seasons.
The two teams will play again tomorrow, a match that Kenya will be seeking to extend their victories over Taifa Stars to 25 out of 55 meetings. The match will be staged at the Moi Sports Centre, Kasarani, from 7pm.
Tanzania is also preparing for a crucial qualifier against Equatorial Guinea away on 25th March, then a home game against Libya three days later.